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Anthony Johnson cleared for UFC return after dismissal of civil case

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Johnson's indefinite suspension has come to an end. The UFC announced on Thursday that the civil case levied against Johnson stemming from past allegations of domestic abuse has been dismissed, and as a result, the burgeoning light heavyweight contender has been cleared to resume his UFC career.

"The person who filed a civil temporary protection order against UFC contender Anthony Johnson last September voluntarily dismissed their complaint last week in the Florida Circuit Court," the UFC announced in a statement. "Before granting a dismissal of the case, the presiding judge independently questioned the alleging party regarding their voluntary intentions, and thereafter the judge dismissed the entire matter.

"The dismissal of the case, along with an independent investigation that was commissioned by the UFC organization, brings closure to this matter for Johnson and allows him to return to competition in the UFC. As a result, UFC officials are exploring options for Johnson's next fight to take place early next year."

Johnson (18-4) was suspended on Sept. 19 after allegations of his past issues with domestic abuse came to light in the wake of the Ray Rice NFL scandal. At the time, a proposed fight between Johnson and top Swedish contender Alexander Gustafsson was effectively "done" for UFC on FOX 13 on Dec. 13, according to UFC President Dana White, however Johnson's suspension ultimately derailed the bout.

"The UFC organization will not tolerate domestic violence, sexual assault or any other violation of its Code of Conduct," UFC officials stated on Thursday. "The organization is committed to thoroughly investigating all allegations and taking the appropriate action when warranted."

With Johnson left on the sidelines, Gustafsson was briefly linked to a bout against Rashad Evans in early 2015, however that fight also failed to come to fruition as lingering problems with Evans' surgically repaired right knee have Evans now eyeing a March return at the earliest. So for the moment, it appears that a Gustafsson-Johnson match-up could be back on the table.

Johnson, 30, remains the No. 3 ranked light heavyweight on the UFC's media-generated rankings. "Rumble" has won eight straight fights since his ill-fated first UFC run ended in 2012, including a dominant unanimous decision over Phil Davis and a 44-second starching of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira last July.